West Valley hospital offers women natural childbirth experience

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - In the last few weeks, Nicole Welch has spent a lot of her time in this maternity room, waiting and preparing for her first born to arrive while her husband is deployed overseas.

The ultra-running marathon athlete says she's no stranger to labor or pain, which is why the mom-to-be decided on a natural birth through a midwifery.

"I think a big part of being an athlete is body awareness and listening to your body and so that's always something I tried to do really well, because I practiced that I'm able to push limits," she said.

Nicole is 30-weeks-pregnant and says she has no idea what to expect, but she might have a slight idea.

"To me, it's like another physical feat," she said. "Like I said, it's another sport, but kind of just the challenge of it. So I think continuing that through childbirth, that's like another feat, right? Women have been doing it for years, so why can't I?"

Now, Banner Estrella is offering midwife births to patients. The program gives moms a "home birth" experience, with the support of a medical team.

"In certain cases, medications can have some side effects and cause harm, so what this does is empowers the patient that they can make informed decisions about what they think is best for their body and for their child.," said Teresa Malcom, an OBGYN at Banner Estrella.

"I think that they leave this experience feeling empowered as women that they were able to give birth to their baby... they're stronger and happy!" said Tracy Burns, a midwife at Banner Health Estrella.

So moms like Nicole can experience a healthy baby in the most natural way.